A Look Inside America’s Number One Aquarium: Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield, Missouri
AMY: Hey everyone! This is Amy with TPF! Trips, Places and Fun, and I'm here with John, and today we're going to be talking about the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. So we have a little known fact or a fun story for you at the end so just hold off to the very end and hear what we have to say. You're not going to regret it. Now, the Wonders of Wildlife has been voted America's best aquarium and the best new attraction by USA Today, so this is definitely something you want to get out there and see. It's by the creators of Bass Pro Shops, Johnny Morris, and you'll want to know that this is separated into two different areas. So you have the wildlife galleries and you have the aquarium, and you can see one or the other or get a combo ticket to see both.
JOHN: So after you purchase your tickets, if you choose to go to both attractions, you're gonna go to the wildlife gallery first, and I'll tell you, it's absolutely overwhelming. All of the exhibits and the details and and the plaques that you can read and the information; definitely way more than we could ever address here in a short video. So take your time, if you have the time, take the time read all that you can read, look at everything that you can.There's phenomenal, beautifully done scenery and the animals are placed in real life type of scenes and it's themed in a way that I've really never seen anywhere else in my life, and I've been to a lot of different museums and aquariums and things like that. It's amazing. And so you're gonna see a variety of things including a Native American gallery. You're gonna see all sorts of different artwork and sculptures and various types of scenery and things like that. You're gonna look at Roosevelt's cabin, very, very cool. You're gonna walk in and you're gonna see a little fire in the fireplace, and you know, everything that they do here in the museum makes you feel like you're really there, especially the outdoor scenes, which that's really hard to pull off. They did it here. Many of you know the brilliance of Johnny Morris and Bass Pro they know how to do this. They do it so well. You're gonna see bucks and bulls and wolves and so many different types of animals. You're gonna see something called Sheep Mountain. It’s super cool. Amy really loves this, don't you Amy? Why don't you tell them about this.
AMY: This is totally cool. Lighting cycles through a 24-hour day every three minutes, so it's getting lighter, than it, you know, dawn comes. Then it starts to, you know, go throughout the bright day and then dusk comes, and then it gets dark. And so it's really cool to see that cycle as you're going through that, through that exhibit. That lighting is cycling through and it just adds such a cool level of immersion.
JOHN: And correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I heard one of the staff members share today that they actually adjust the temperature as well, is that right?
AMY: That’s what I heard. The lighting is changing throughout the day and the temperature is also changing.
JOHN: So it's going it's getting warmer during the day, cooler at night, and so it's just one of those touches that just it's kind of mind-boggling that they, you know, added the detail like that. And so that's something that's, it's really pretty amazing, you know. Additionally, you're going to see something that they call Africa at night. And that's a, it's a really cool scene there. One thing to take note of, you are going to walk into a polar area that has penguins, and this is the only the only scene in the wildlife gallery that actually has live animals, is that right?
AMY: Yes, as far as I know this is the only place where you are going to see live animals. Most of the live animals are over on the aquarium side.
JOHN: So it might make sense that, you know, if you are only going to go to the aquarium and, something in the back of your head tells you that you want to see the penguins, you're not gonna see the penguins in the aquarium. The penguins are in the in the wildlife gallery, and so just keep that in mind, but those guys are really cool, those penguins, they're swimming and just doing penguiny kind of things, I guess.
AMY: Right, super cute.
JOHN: And so you're gonna you're gonna see the penguins there. There's tunnels for the kids to crawl through and to pop up and to see a different point of view there as the penguins are swimming around. Additionally, different areas there, and and I'm not going through all of them. I'm just selecting a few that stood out to me. There's a walrus and polar bears. There's a lion's den and so many different, just, just really, really cool things. So again, you take your time, walk slow, enjoy yourself and when you are done with that segment, you are going to emerge overlooking the aquarium and it's it's a stunning transition, coming out of what feels more, or I don't even know how to say it, maybe more natural or older or old into something that's that's suddenly vibrant and blue and fresh and it's really pretty amazing. And so we're going to talk about the aquarium, but before we do that, we need to stop and get something to eat, and I think there's a great place to do that.
AMY: Between the wildlife galleries and the aquarium you will find Fish Tales Cafe. Now this is a great time in between the galleries and the aquarium to kind of take a breather, relax a little bit, and grab a bite to eat at Fish Tales Cafe. They have a lot of great food. You'll find pizza. They even have gluten-free pizza so if you need that, that's there for you. They have some vegetarian options. They have salad, they have sandwiches, so lots of great things to eat. They even serve Andy's Frozen Custard, so if you're in the mood for some dessert you can get that there too. As you're sitting there you can see the penguins swimming up and down, there's a little aquarium there inside the cafe itself, so that's fun to watch as you're eating. And then you can just get refreshed, take a breather and then head on into the aquarium.
As John said earlier, the entrance to the aquarium is stunning. You've got an aquarium that's probably a couple of stories high and there are fish swimming the whole height of it. All around are different exhibits and you just walk kind of into this blue lagoon.Iit's it's hard to describe, but it is amazing once you get into the aquarium. There's so many different things to see and I'm not going to cover all of them because it would just be impossible in this short video, but I'll just highlight some of my favorites. You go through Shipwreck Reef, and this is another thing with it, when you walk through the doors and you see Shipwreck Reef, you're just stunned. It is just so immersive and so cool. Johnny Morris is not disappoint. You will just have to see this for yourself. Then, as you go past Shipwreck Reef, you can go past a theater. There's some different things to do in there. But then you can go into the swamp at night. Now, this takes immersion to a whole new level. Just as John was saying earlier they are able to make you think you're outside when you're inside, and so it's like you're walking through the swamp. You're walking across like this kind of swinging bridge, this rickety bridge, into a treehouse. Just so many things to do and see here, and lots of live animals to interact with. And it's not just fish. It's not just the things you might think that you would see in an aquarium. But you'll also see birds and turtles and alligators and just all different kinds of animals. And so, they also have something in here called the touch experience, so you can touch sea urchins and different things like that. So it's kind of cool to look down and see these little spiky creatures and be able to reach down and touch them. You can even swim with the sharks if you are so inclined and very brave you can gear up and go swim with the sharks. I did not do that but maybe you are brave enough to do it. So another really cool thing to see are the jellyfish. These, I don't know how they make them look like this, but I don't know if they're backlit or something, but they just have this really cool glow effect. And so the jellyfish are something we always want to take a picture of and kind of stare at in different lighting. The shark alley is in here, and you can take your photo inside of a giant shark mouth or jaws of a shark, teeth of a shark, so that's a great photo-op if you decide to do that, There is even a caves exhibit, so it's kind of like you're walking through just caves, underground caves…
JOHN: …as opposed to the above-ground caves…
AMY: …that's true caves are underground, but you're walking through it, again it looks so real. You'll see bats, real live bats and some fake ones, sometimes it's hard to tell which are which so it can be a little creepy. But you'll see bats flying around. They also even have black bears in the aquarium, so definitely something that you wouldn't think you'd see in an aquarium, but they do they have a couple of black bears there. One of the the neatest things to do is the stingray touch. So stingrays are swimming around and you can reach your hand in there and they just come right up. They, they are used to people touching them and they don't seem to mind it. So you can pet some stingrays, and then the very last thing to do there, and we always have a blast doing this, is they have what's called the sketch aquarium, and it's kind of hard to explain. But, you color a picture of a turtle or a fish or something like that and they kind of scan it and then it is in this, it's up on the wall. Your sketch is up on the wall swimming around. So we even did TPF travels so you guys could see it. Anyway, so this aquarium is really, really incredible, you know, the best in the US voted by USA Today. So definitely get out here and see this. You will not regret it.
JOHN: So in the beginning of the video we told you that was there was something fun, interesting, at the end that you definitely needed stay tuned in for, and here it is, I was recently talking with an employee of a sprinkler company who installs commercial sprinklers. He was sharing with me that the gigantic whale that is up there in the ceiling of the aquarium, huge, absolutely massive, he said that they were installing sprinklers actually in the whale. He was, he was going on to tell me about how Johnny Morris is very a particular about hiding different things that are necessary in order to have a business open, like sprinklers, but hiding them, making them blend in with the scenery. And so that's what they were doing. So he was telling me that there's actually sprinklers hidden in the whale and when they got up there to do the installation they noticed that there was a little doll, a little, tiny doll sitting there. Someone had thrown a doll into the whale and it's it's Jonah! And somebody threw Jonah up there in the whale. So when you see that whale up there in the ceiling you can know that, you'll of course you'll never never see it, but there there's a doll named Jonah hanging out inside the whale. And I guess if the story follows what we see in the Bible that after three day he's gonna get out? I don't know he's been in there longer than three days, I think he's kind of stuck.
AMY: Thanks for joining us on another episode of TPS. We hope you'll tune in next time for some other fun activity.
JOHN: And by all means be sure to give us a thumbs up and then subscribe and click the bell so you can be notified the next time a video is uploaded. See you guys next time!
AMY: Safe travels!
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